It’s back to the basics for Sanjeev Kapoor with the launch of his new book, Wedding Collection. Perhaps India’s most celebrated chef, Kapoor’s latest offering is a crash course for young brides, teaching everything from the traditional to the exotic, using the simplest of techniques.
“Food is the universal language of love. Every meal my wife and I have created together has helped us create fond memories,” says Kapoor, adding, “It’s those happy memories that have served as inspiration for me to write this book". The chef, who has been married for 18 years now, has plenty of advice for newly weds, who may be entering the kitchen for the first time. “First and foremost, be ready to ask for help. Take advantage of elders at home and refer to recipe books,” he says. “Plan your menu by asking your spouse about his/her likes and dislikes. Also, take criticism with a smile.”
Kapoor has fond memories of the first dish his wife had prepared for the family. “She was requested to prepare halwa, as per our tradition wherein the daughter-in-law makes something sweet for the whole family,” he recalls.
Elaborating on the book, Kapoor says, “Sooner or later, every woman has to enter the kitchen. Wedding Collection is a guide and lifeline for a beginner who wants to cook something nice for her family. There are offerings from all courses and the recipes vary from easy to elaborate.”
Meanwhile, the popular chef is also working simultaneously on two other books – one on Indian sweets and another, a collection of recipes titled From My Mother’s Kitchen. Having recently launched a TV channel dedicated to cooking, Foodfood, Kapoor is also excited by the idea of using content from Wedding Collection to turn into a TV show.
400 grams cottage cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes
1.5 cups Basmati rice
3 tablespoons ghee
2 teaspoons sugar
1 large onion, finely sliced
1 bay leaf
1 inch cinnamon
2 green cardamoms
Salt to taste
Wash and drain the rice and spread out to dry. When completely dry, add one tablespoon of ghee and the sugar and mix well.
Heat one tablespoon of ghee in a pan and sauté the cottage cheese cubes. Drain and set aside.
Add the remaining ghee to the same pan and sauté the onion till crisp and brown. Drain and set aside.
To the ghee remaining in the pan, add the bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves and cardamoms and sauté till fragrant. Add the rice and salt and sauté for two or three minutes.
Add three cups of hot water and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and cook till the rice is done and all the water has been absorbed.
Add the cottage cheese cubes and stir lightly to mix. Sprinkle fried onions and serve.
Palak ki kadhi
0.5 medium bunch (100 grams) spinach, chopped
2 cups yogurt, whisked
4 tablespoons gram flour
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
0.5 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
A pinch of asafoetida
1 large onion, chopped n 1 teaspoon ginger paste
3 green chillies, chopped
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder n 0.5 teaspoon red chilli powder
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
Whisk together the yogurt, gram flour and three cups of water till smooth.
Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and add the cumin seeds. Then add the fenugreek seeds.
When the seeds begin to change colour, add the asafoetida and onion and sauté for two minutes.
Add the ginger paste and green chillies and sauté for half a minute. Add the turmeric powder, chilli powder and spinach and sauté for two minutes.
Add the yogurt mixture and bring to a boil. Add the salt and sugar, lower the heat and simmer for ten to fifteen minutes, or till the kadhi thickens.